An easy three-hour drive east…
…of Phoenix on the Fort Apache Reservation, you will find Cibecue Falls. A picturesque canyon hike that leads to a stunning waterfall. This is a popular spot and does get hot in the summers, so plan on starting early.
Another great weekend spent hiking a new trail just a few hours drive east of Phoenix near Roosevelt Lake. The reward for this moderate 6-mile loop is the waterfall.
Picturesque Cibecue Falls
The ice-cold water and cooler temperatures make for a great escape from the summer heat of Phoenix. Bring a good pair of water shoes as you will get wet as you’ll be crossing the river several times.
Since you are on Indian land, there is a $15 per person fee that you will pay BEFORE you get to the trailhead. After you turn off the freeway, there will be a dirt parking lot with a stand where you will fill out the paperwork and put your cash in an envelope. Once you’ve paid your fee, you will wind your way down a 2-3 mile single lane dirt road. If you are worried your car won’t make it, I drive a 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse, and I had no problem on the road. Just go slow, and you’ll be fine.
When you get to the first stream crossing the road, you’re there. You can park on either side of the river or alongside the road. Just be sure to park far enough onto the side that you are not blocking anyone else. The trail will be to your right along the canyon wall.
An easy hike in
This is a moderate hike with minimal elevation gain. You will be climbing over rocks and through bushes and trees, but it is not that strenuous. There is lots of shade to sit in and enjoy nature’s sounds and relax by the flowing river. The tall canyon walls provide some stunning photos that will make all of your friends and family want to do this hike.
At the waterfall, take a break and enjoy the cool water. There are plenty of ledges for the more adventurous type to climb up and jump into the pool of water. A few brave souls climbed to the top of the waterfall and jumped. I’m fine keeping my feet on the ground, thank you. 🙂
My suggestion is to go early as the place can be a little crowded later in the day. We started about 10:00 AM and had no trouble finding parking near the start. Be sure to save some water for the trek back, as it can still get pretty hot. Luckily you are always near the water to cool off.
We passed two campgrounds along the dirt road, and those sites are near the river as well. Make a weekend out of it and have some fun. If you are camping, make sure you have everything with you as the nearest gas station or market is about a 45-60 minute drive.
The Things You Need To Know
|Permit information:||$15/day special use permit|
|Distance:||5.4 miles total distance out & back|
|Difficulty:||moderate – climbing over rocks and through trees and bushes|